Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seven Months

Don't worry about the snow in March...not like it should be Spring or anything
At least it makes the sewage stream look a bit omre picturesque

Walking to work in the snow and slush is tons of fun!!

Street food in Myeongdong...I'd love to actually see someone walking around gnawing on one of those two-foot long octopus legs...

Sure, these LOOK like french fries...but chances are, they're some type of dried squid or processed fish sausage. Koreans LOVE their processed fish sausage!
Myeongdong shopping district: so busy on a Sunday afternoon!
Too bad these animal ears aren't even costumes...Korean women truly wear them as hair accessories. It's kind of maddening, actually...seeing 20-something women walking around Seoul wearing furry Bunny ears
My favorite street food, Tteok Bokki- chewy, spicy, stir-fried rice cakes
Dolsot Bibimbap (a hot pot of mixed rice, vegetables, meat, and egg), at our favorite restaurant in the food court of a nearby department store. You mix everything inside with your chopsticks so that it cooks together...and the pot is SO hot that they have to serve it in these wooden holders This is Aaron, from one of my elementary classes. He's got a pretty exceptional Asian mullet haircut...although you can't see it as well here because I made him put my hair clip in his hair From my 4:00 class: Annika, Tony, Jack, Aaron...I love this class!!
Two of my new kinder students: Vicky and Jasmine
Ray and Kelly, new kinders
Julianna- such a sweetheart :) And yes, that is a giant cloth bear head on the side of her headband... Seoul, on a Sunday afternoon...
One of the few (or only?) Starbucks with the logo not written in English. If you sound out the Korean translation, it would sound like: "Suh-ta-puk-suh"
Adjusting to the new students, classes, and school routine has kept me pretty well occupied for the past few much so that another big milestone came and passed without my acknowledgement. It's called "I've Been in Korea for 7 Months"! And this milestone is only more important than the Halfway Point of last month because it signifies that downward slope toward the end of the year (I believe those were actually my mom's words...)
I have pretty mixed feelings about this point in time. Yes, the whole experience so far has been a rollercoaster of emotions and mixed feelings, of highs and lows. And I'm sure that my feelings and attitude about Korea will continue to change right down to the last few weeks here in August. But as of right now, it gives me a stomachache to even think about leaving in 5 months. Of course, I've already become so attached to my new students...and I'm still having difficulty letting go of my old ones! It already makes me so sad to think that I'll never see them again...or that once I get home, I won't be Britney Teacher anymore...I'll be Ms. Haeg! That's just too strange to think about :)
I am trying to just enjoy every has been an exciting past few weeks, meeting so many new students and beginning to teach new classes. I'm teaching the same level of science as last term, and it feels pretty good to know that I've already taught the whole textbook before and feel very confident in what I'm teaching. Never, ever thought I'd enjoy teaching science so much! It's also been a new experience teaching a high-level 5th grade reading class...these kids are wickedly smart and have better vocabularies than most native English-speaking adults. I've had to learn to adjust my language dramatically when teaching this new class...I can speak in full sentences and have actual conversations with them!
About my new kindergarten class...let's just say that they're a work in progress! They're still allowed to speak Korean to each other and in the classroom for now...and then by the first week in April, the "No Speaking Korean!" rules will be fully enforced. That should be interesting...considering that they are only now equipped with the very basics of English communication. What are they supposed to do until their vocabularies expand more, just say "hello" and "goodbye" to each other all day long?? Yesterday, one of my girls said to me, "May I have some milk, please?"....and I almost died, I was so happy. That was one of my first moments of success with these students, as I had been teaching that expression every day during milk time for the past few weeks. Proof that they are truly learning something with me!!
Wishing it was Springtime here...there has been some great Minnesota-esque weather lately, such as snowstorms in March. I'm thinking that must be because there are so many Minnesota teachers at our school!! Apparently Korea is usually in much higher temps and having nicer weather by now...but considering that this was the year of the most snow in more than 100 years, the outlook doesn't seem too promising for Spring anytime soon...hmm guess there are many parts of MN staying with me :)

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